Michigan residents and others who have been charged with theft may not have actually violated any laws. For instance, those who take back property that belongs to them are not engaging in theft.
However, a person who claims ownership of an item will need to produce objective evidence to prove that assertion. Evidence that may bolster an ownership claim may include a receipt or bank statement indicating when a product was purchased.
Are there any exceptions?
Defendants who were drunk when they took someone else’s property may not meet the criteria to be charged with theft. This is because it may be difficult to prove that those who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they commit a crime intended to break the law. Therefore, a juror may have no choice but to find a person not guilty of the charge if it goes to trial.
Those who are lured into committing a crime by another person may be able to claim that they were entrapped. In such a scenario, a person was compelled to commit a crime by another party for the sole purpose of taking the perpetrator into custody. Individuals who return items that they have stolen may still be charged and convicted on a theft charge. However, returning stolen property might be enough to convince a prosecutor to recommend a lighter sentence.
A person who is charged with theft or other offenses may face jail time, a fine or other penalties. A criminal defense attorney may be able to help a person get a charge dropped, obtain a plea deal or obtain an acquittal. This may be done by having evidence suppressed or arguing that there was no intent to commit a crime. If a charge is dismissed, an attorney may move to have it sealed.